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S E R M. croaching upon them, or derogating from them; or from the honour and good offices they juftly claim, according to the laws of humanity, juftice, and charity. This difpofition and behaviour directly oppofite to that of the fcorner, as. it will entitle us to the favour of God, and the approbation of all good men,for before honour is humility, and pridegoeth before a fall; and our Saviour telleth us, Luke xviii. 14. Every one that exalteth himfeIf Jhall be abafed, and he that humbleth himfelf Jhall be exalted, fo it will preferve an inward equanimity and felf-fatisfaction, free from thofe tempefts and furious tumults of mind to which the pride and paffions of men always expofe them, and is the fureft way to grow in every valuable quality, and particularly, to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Cbrift, 2 Pet. iii, 18,
Attending public Instruction, and other inftrumental Duties, recommended.
PROVERBS VIII. 34.
BlefTed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the pofts of my doors.
I Have endeavoured in fome difcourfes, Serm. from feveral paflages in this book, to lay before you the neceflary qualifications for' our attainining true wifdom or religious virtue, and fet againft them the greateft hinderances, which muft be removed; particu-p ly infilting on the prevailing love of wjfdom, diligence in the ufe of all proper means for acquiring it, a difpaffionate temper of mind, and humility. It is certain that our vehement irregular affections and paffions do moft unhappily obftruct our growth in grace and faving knowledge, and nothing more than pride and affection, J might have
Ser M. enlarged on other particular Vices which the author hath hinted in his Proverbs, as obftructions to wifdom, fuch as cowardice, or an undue fear of men, lafcivioufnefs, intemperance, covetoufnefs, and wrath, which do all of them darken the mind, marr its progrefs in any kind of valuable knowledge, weaken its force and expofe it a prey to temptations; but fome of thefe have been occafionally touched upon, and fuch general rules of felf-government laid down, as, if duly applied, might be a defence to us againft them all.
What I intend at this time, is, to recommend the careful ufe of thofe folemn means, which God hath gracioufly inftituted" for our attaining to religious wifdom; and I think the text giveth a juft occafion for it: Solomon reprefenteth wifdom as a divine perfon, making a public appearance in the world, fetting up a court, or rather a fchool, fending out her minifters, inviting men, even the moft rude and ignorant, to become her difciples, by which they may hope for great advantage. J know not what can be more naturally underftood by all this, than the gracious defign God hath formed and executed for recovering men from their ignorance, corruption, and mifery, and bringing
them into the way of virtue and happinefs, Serm. by an exprefs revelation and pofitive inftitu- XI. tions, which he hath publifhed to them with' all necefTary folemnity. . However amiable and excellent wifdom may appear to confiderate minds, in her moft fimple and natural form, and whatever force there may be apprehended in reafon to overcome prejudices againft the things which are pure, and juft, and true, and honeft, and virtuou&i yet mankind were become fo degenerate,; f$ univeffally depraved,. even dead in trefpafles and fins, that to reclaim them there needed, and we ought to efleem it an invaluable advantage, and a very great favour that there is granted, a fpecial interpofition of heaven, a plain and direct call from God by a pofitive law, with encouragements beyond what human underftanding could devife, and affiftance above the mere force of nature. The divine revelation hath indeed appeared in different forms, and the laft is the nioft perfect, I mean the gofpel, Heb. i. i, 2. God who at Jundry times, and in divers manners, fpake in times paft unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in thefe laft daysfpoken unto us by his Son. And we may be fure the moft compleat fyftem, with the greateft advantages of every fort, the moft powerful
S E R M. fan&ion to enforce it, the cleareft inflruction," XI. and the pureft manner of adminiftratioi), 'as well as the moft convincing evidence of its truth and divine authority, were worthy of fuch a meflenger.
But I will confider the open appearance of Wifdom and the public plan of her doctrines arrd rules, abftractly from what is peculiar in any difpenfatioh. The re/peet which is due from men, is, to hear, and the text pronounceth them blefled who do fo. Their duty is farther thus expreffed, watching daily at the gates of wifdom, and 'waiting at the pofls of her doors. As the gates and avenues to the houfes of the great are filled with retainers, as fervants, fubjects, vaflals, and other dependants (according to the various diftinctions of men in higher or lower ftations) who are continually thronging thither to pay fhelr homage, and to prefent their petitions; and as fcholars intent upon learning; diligently attend public lectures, and all other mean's of teaching, fo we ought to make our court to wifdom, and be moft felicitous to embrace every opportunity of admiffion info her favour. It will be no difficulty to underftand the particulars which are reprefented by this allufipn, that is, the inftrumental duties of religion,